A rodeo clown was shot down by a California audience recently when he made a racist joke about first lady Michelle Obama.
On Sept. 15, Mike Hayhurst of Barstow, Calif., jokingly told the attendees at Creston Classic Rodeo that Mrs. Obama was a model for National Geographic, which is known for its photography of animals and primitive cultures.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported that the offensive comment went something like this:
“Playboy is offering Ann Romney $250,000 to pose in the magazine and the White House is upset about it because National Geographic only offered Michelle Obama $50 to pose for them.”
According to the paper, audience members were not amused and many demanded an apology.
“I was really appalled and the people around me were really appalled. He was acting like we were buying into his bigotry and we weren’t,” spectator Dona Wilson of Santa Margarita told the newspaper. “There was no way I was going to let that go unmentioned. I think there should be an apology made over the loudspeaker.”
At first, it was assumed that announcer Ed Kutz of Arroyo Grande had made the tasteless remarks. Later, a board member confirmed that the offender was Hayhurst.
“I can’t speak for the board, but I myself think that this is unacceptable behavior or conduct ,” said Mike Barrett, Creston Classic Rodeo board member. “I find it offensive, and I think that it’s conduct unbecoming.”
Though Hayhurst has performed at the event for many years, he works on contract and is not officially affiliated with the small-town rodeo, Barrett told the newspaper. The nine-member board has asked the jokester to make a public apology, and at their next meeting, they will decide whether to fire him.
“We probably won’t be using his services in the future,” Barrett said of the clown.
The board will also likely review scripts for future performances by any clown.